Broadband and phone provider TalkTalk appears to be preparing to take on rival ISPs by upping its game with the forthcoming launch of a new “Super Router“, which will be based off the latest Huawei HG635 hardware and appears to feature the most recent Gigabit (1000Mbps+) capable wifi wireless networking specification (802.11ac).
So far the only one of the big broadband ISPs to launch an 802.11ac spec device has been EE with its impressive BrightBox 2 Router, which is sold alongside their fixed line superfast “Fibre Broadband” (FTTC) packages (here).
The reason others haven’t done the same is because the 802.11ac standard won’t officially be finalised until “early 2014” and it always costs more to add support for bleeding edge technology, which rarely suits the cheaper-end approach of mass produced / bundled ISP routers.
Never the less a recent Interoperability Certificate, which has been seen by ISPreview.co.uk, appears to confirm the existence of TalkTalk’s new Super Router. The certificate doesn’t reveal much other than to confirm that it will support the usual n spec (802.11n) wifi, dual-band 2.4GHz / 5GHz frequencies and that 802.11ac appears to be present (based on the near-final draft 3.0 specification).
TalkTalks Super Router 802.11ac Capabilities
Tx 3 tested Spatial Streams 5 GHz
Rx 3 tested Spatial Streams 5 GHz
Rx MCS 8-9 (256-QAM)
Rx Short Guard Interval
Tx STBC 2×1
ISPreview.co.uk is currently seeking clarification about the device from TalkTalk. In the meantime some additional information we have suggests that the Super Router might shortly enter a closed trial at the ISP but we probably won’t officially see the kit itself until next year.
Similarly it’s a fairly safe bet to say that Sky Broadband and Virgin Media will both be looking towards 802.11ac technology for their own kit during 2014/15 (note: BT has already announced the HomeHub5 with ac support). But some of those ISPs may well prefer to wait until the specification is finalised, especially since most have only recently launched new kit of their own.
Sadly TalkTalk said they could not provide any further information, which is fairly normal practice for any not-yet-officially-announced products.
UPDATE 27th May 2014
The new kit has been launched (here).